(out of 5)
Lewis is a parentless boy, abandoned on the front steps of an orphanage as an infant, who grows up to be a precocious, science-obsessed eleven year-old. Constantly setting off major accidents in his room with his experiments, he also keeps his baseball-loving roommate Goob from getting any shut-eye, making the poor kid the sleepiest player on his ball team. When Lewis enters his latest creation, a time machine, into his school’s science fair in the hopes of taking the grand prize, he ends up setting off a major disaster after a mysterious evil man in a mechanized bowler hat sabotages his work. Then a teenager comes from the future to help save Lewis and prevent the destruction of the future from happening. From here the film goes from sweet to neat as Lewis is taken well into the years ahead by his new friend and shown a bubbly, colourful world where technology has created every possible convenience. He also meets the Robinsons, an incredibly kooky family headed up by a mysterious inventor who never seems available for questions. Wonderful characterizations, smart writing, dazzling animation and just enough messages about ambition and moral culpability without toppling the whole thing over make for a fine family film experience. It doesn’t have the gorgeous bite of Pixar’s best work, nor does it fully equal the sum of its parts, but it’s solid and genuinely felt.
Directed by Stephen J. Anderson
Screenplay by Jon Bernstein, Michelle Bochner, Don Hall, Nathan Greno, Aurian Redson, Joseph Mateo, Stephen J. Anderson, additional story material by Robert L. Baird, Daniel Gerson, Shirley Pierce, based on the book A Day With Wilbur Robinson by William Joyce
Produced by Dorothy McKim
Music by Danny Elfman
Production Design by Robh Ruppel
Film Editing by Ellen Keneshea